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  • Writer's pictureThe Wild Foodie

Pickled Dandelion Buds three ways

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

Dandelion buds or the unopened flower buds are readily known as a wayside nibble. These bitter tasting and soft textured buds lend brilliantly to other flavours as well, especially vinegar!


Early in the spring, dandelions create a little, caper-sized flower bud before the stalk shoots aloft and blossoms into a flower. Dandelion buds can be fashioned into an excellent alternative to capers if harvested young enough.


Dandelion buds
Dandelion buds

Pickled Dandelion buds are great to make as they are easy to collect and easy to make. However you can make it a little more complicated and choose the brining technique, this will take you into a more adult and familiar caper flavour and one that I would completely recommend spending a little time on, even experimenting with flavours yourself!


Learn more about the Dandelion and its uses here.


How to make Dandelion Capers

Simply make a brine with vinegar or apple cider vinegar and salt. Pour it into a jar with dandelion buds. The salt and vinegar act as preservatives. Let it sit for a week, taste it and add salt as per your desire. But here's a few more dandelion bud caper recipes to get you going.


Simple Pickled Dandelion Buds


Ingredients:

Cupful of dandelion buds

White wine vinegar

½ Teaspoon Maldon salt

½ Teaspoon sugar


The dandelion buds need to be prepared, remove any stem and the little green leaves that hold the bud. Place them in a bowl and toss with the sugar and the salt making sure that they are all nicely coated. Now you’ll need a clean small glass jar (big enough to hold the cupful of dandelion buds). Now spoon the dandelion buds into the jar and top up with white wine vinegar. Leave for a few weeks and enjoy from there.


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Brined and Pickled Dandelion Buds

Dandelion Bud recipes
Dandelion Bud

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Dandelion buds

White wine vinegar

2 Tsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Maldon salt

2 Bay leaves

3 Sprigs fresh thyme


These are the closest to actual capers as the brining adds the lovely saltiness to the dandelion buds that is so familiar and moreish with actual capers. You need to make sure that the buds are not about to open as any open buds that are close to opening will open when the hot water is poured on them.


Brining - Bring the salt and a cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Put the dandelion buds in a bowl and pour the boiling brine over them. Cover and let them soak at room temperature for 2 to 3 days.


Pickling – Now using a sieve drain the dandelion buds and place in the clean jar, the jar that you are going to store them in. Meanwhile you need to heat your vinegar. In a saucepan heat the white wine vinegar, sugar, bay and thyme and bring to the boil in a small saucepan. Pour the boiling vinegar mixture over the dandelion buds and in the jar allow to cool (along with the additional flavourings as well). Cover the jar and place in the fridge. Leave them for a week or two and they will be delicious!


Italian Style Dandelion Buds


Ingredients:

1/2 cup Dandelion buds

White wine vinegar

2 Tsp Sugar

2 Tbsp Maldon salt

2 Peels of Lemon rind

1 Red chilli

3 Small sprigs rosemary


This is a play on the brined and pickled dandelion buds, except this time with Italian flavours! Again you need to make sure that the buds are not opening. The brining and pickling methods are the same as above.


Brining – As before bring the salt and a cup of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Put the dandelion buds in a bowl and pour the boiling brine over them. Cover and let them soak at room temperature for two to three days.


Pickling – Again using a sieve drain the dandelion buds and place in the clean jar, the jar that you are going to store them in. Meanwhile you need to heat the vinegar. Again in a saucepan heat the white wine vinegar and sugar but this time with the rosemary, lemon rind and the thinly sliced chilli (seeds in!). Pour the boiling vinegar mixture over the dandelion buds making sure that all of the additional ingredients get into the jar and allow to cool. Cover the jar and place in the fridge. Again a week or two later these Italian inspired dandelion buds will be stunning.


This simple and very common ingredient preserved for about 6 months, well the brined versions will! The basic recipe will keep for a couple of months!


How do you use Dandelion Capers?

However, once fermented, these dandelion capers can be mixed into pasta or risottos, or used to add zing to salads. Even try, adding a couple of tablespoons of roughly chopped dandelion capers to tuna salad or the yolk mixture in deviled eggs. They can also be fried and used as a garnish to provide a pleasing salty crunch to foods. Capers also go well with seafood. Their delicious uses are endless.


Anyway, have fun making these and let me tell you.. When they are ready, think like an Italian. They will also work beautifully with Tomatoes, Lamb or simply on their own!


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1 Comment


Mardie Giegold
May 07, 2021

Is there any way I can copy these recipes? I have a friend who does not have a computer and would like these recipes. First time on your web, do like the set up.


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